I love home.
I love pink.
I love getting together with my quilting friends once a week.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I love home.
I love pink.
I love getting together with my quilting friends once a week.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
What in the world can a person do with bunches of buttons?
My friend Sonja, who owns the “Two Olde Yoyos” shop on Etsy, knows! She made this wreath wall hanging in the penny-rug style, then added hand-made polymer clay buttons (by me!).
It is so pretty, I bought one for myself. At the moment I write this, there’s one more penny wreath wall hanging at Sonia’s Etsy shop. She also has lots of mini-quilts and more, at very reasonable prices.
“But wait,” you may be saying, “How can I get hold of some hand-made polymer clay buttons?”
You can make some! In fact, there’ still time to sign up for my polymer clay button workshops at The Knit & Crochet Show next month in Reno, Nevada. For more information, please visit this site: http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/
On Tuesday evening, at the girls’ piano lesson, I sewed the last button onto my Quilting Ladies’ Group Valentine’s Day Quilt. I tried to sew more buttons on, but when I put them tentatively on the quilt, the quilt said, “Enough already!” Usually, I can find a place to tuck in one more, but all my attempts were rejected.
So it was finished! Yay!
This quilt combines old and new and bits and pieces that will remind me of friends and fun times. Like this pretty quilted heart will always make me think of Peggy.
The yellowy flower is a Twirl Center Rose from Crochet Garden.
These yellow and white applique daisies are from my mother-in-law’s sewing collection. She was a lovely lady named Mary Eugenia Frederick. She went by ‘Gene,” but we thought Eugenia was a beautiful middle name for our younger daughter.
Rachel made the fabric flower with the red center. Our older daughters like to go adventuring together and talk about music. Gail Hughes made the green buttons that serve as leaves for Rachel’s flower.
Three pink heart buttons from Hazel are surrounded by flowers from Crochet Garden: Begonia (lower left), Turkestani Star with a button from Gail Hughes, and Any Color Pinks at the upper right.
For Donna’s quilt, she asked us each to sign a piece of fabric, which she incorporated in to her quilt. The spool charm is from Donna.
This heart, cut out of an antique quilt, is from Mindy. Both green buttons and the crystal topped button on the heart are by Gail Hughes. Hazel’s buttons are the red heart-shaped ones hidden next to the big heart.
This quilt is full of love!
Polymer clay buttons are so much fun to make! They’re colorful and pretty. They’re machine-washable and dryable. Button-lover that I am, I have enjoyed making these little beauties since the 1980s. The buttons started accumulating. How could I display all those buttons? A button cloth!
Since there were so many colors of buttons, I needed a colorful button cloth. Borrowing a color-meandering technique from quilter Jinny Beyer, I arranged the hues of the rainbow in different shades and tints.
Using the wonderful Ultimate Sweater Machine and yarns from my collection, I knitted blocks of color, alternating with cream and white, and with black and gray at the beginning and end of each strip. I used the join-as-you-knit method to add new strips of color blocks.
After blocking the knitting, I added quilt batting and fabric backing. Then I quilted it and added binding all around.
Now to sew buttons onto the cloth! It took a long time to work through my backlog of buttons. After that, whenever I made a new button style or color-way, I sewed a sample onto the cloth right away.
It’s such a fun piece to show. I always take it to my button workshops. People are surprised to learn that all the colors are the colors of the clay—no paint!
Ella’s hand hovered over the buttons, ready to sort. From Eva’s position in the armchair, she could oversee our work while texting, facebooking, and doing homework. I sat on the floor with a box of crocheted flowers. It was time to embellish.
Choosing embellishment is my favorite part of making any wallhanging, because of the sheer potential and unpredictability. I also love having my daughters’ advice, because they help me see things differently.
For instance, I imagined this Valentine’s quilt as a dream in pink, red, and cream. Then I found the applique daisies inherited from my mother-in-law. They had yellow centers.
“Yellow?!” I thought at first. A few minutes later, I was thinking, “Hmm. Yellow. Ah, yes.”
We took great care selecting yellow buttons. Some were way too bright, some were too big (but tucking them under the edge of a flower reduced their impact), a few were just right. We added crocheted flowers with yellow in them. Suddenly the quilt took on a spring-like, gardenish feel, unlike the straight-up Valentine-colors theme I had envisioned.
Ella supplied me with many pink and light pink buttons to surround the heart, and red and purplish buttons to hide in the background. She found every single red sparkly button in the pile.
“Mom, it needs some green,” said Eva from on high.
Ella got busy finding green buttons and I looked for crocheted leaves.
The flowers, leaves, and buttons cascaded from top left to lower right, looking like a pretty garland. Yes, they were pretty, but kind of dull, just slashing through at an angle like that.
Ella, inspired by all the buttons, ran off to find some fabric to make a quilt of her own. I searched for an element to counterbalance the diagonal garland, rushing across the face of the quilt.
“Eva, what do you think of this pomagranate?” I asked.
“It sure is big,” she said.
I took it off. “Well, when you take the pomegranate away, the quilt looks all empty and sad,” said Eva.
I put it back on. “That’s better,” said Eva.
When was the last time I was able to sit at my desk long enough to write a blog post? Hmmm, looks like it was late November.
We’ve done a lot since then! We did our usual December things, like school parties, a quilting ladies’ party, a band concert, and preparing for Christmas. And we also caulked and painted the inside of an entire house, organized lots of repairs and improvements on it, and filled it with furniture and other things one needs to live there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our new earthen house, but it looks great anyway and it deserves its very own blog post.
So here I sit at my desk, finally, and what do I see, but a pair of lovely earrings I bought at the Quilt Festival.
Meg Hannan of Rag Sky Art Studio in Seattle made them with fiber millefiori. It’s the same idea as glass or polymer clay millefiori. For her earrings and pendants, she makes a roll of different color fabrics, fiber, and beads, soaked with liquid glue. When glue sets, she cuts the roll in cross-section to reveal designs that look like tiny, colorful fantasy worlds.
I’m planning a pinkish and salmon-colored sweater that will look great with these earrings.
Dusty’s Antique Linens and Buttons had baskets and baskets of vintage buttons that would have taken two hours to look at properly. For some reason the orange button collection beckoned—possibly because I’m planning a sweater in orange with teal, green, and other rich colors. These swirly fabulosities were cabochons from the 1970s or so, which were converted into shank buttons.
I have a sweater of moss greens on the drawing board as well. Thank goodness I already have a great selection of green Gail Hughes buttons and buttons from a previous visit to Dusty’s to choose from.
Looks like a busy knitting year ahead!
After two years and two months in the making, my brown seveness cardigan is finished! (Actually I thought it was longer than that. Thank goodness for blog archives to help me remember.)
Here’s the best part: our weather was cold enough yesterday to wear it! It is very cozy.
I had eight of Gail Hughes’s lovely buttons, but only seven buttonholes. I felt sad for the eighth button. It would be lonely in a drawer, away from its siblings. So I sewed it to the button band, too. All better!
Gail Hughes will be selling her gorgeous buttons at the Quilt Festival, November 2 (preview night) through November 6, in Houston, Texas. She designs and manufactures them herself in the United States. Hurray!
In case you’ve missed my previous posts about Gail’s buttons, let me gush about them some more. They’re colorful. They’re all shapes and sizes. Whether you love texture, multi-colors, or sparkles, you’ll find something to please you in Gail’s booth. I love the shiny buttons, and the ones that glow from within a matte finish and look like delicious candy.
My pink with green polka dotted flower buttons by Gail would be right at home in a Dr. Seuss book. Her crisply sculptural buttons will send your mind back to the Art Deco era and Bakelite.
A primitive human need to own beautiful objects drives me to buy Gail’s buttons. I’ve bought for a cardigan awaiting closure. Other times I design a project around the buttons.
Experience the thrill of Gail Hughes Art Buttons at Quilt Festival next month!
Early Friday morning I made my way to the button classroom to finish baking buttons we made the day before. As the start of class came closer, familiar faces and new faces greeted me for Polymer Clay Button Boutique 2.
At nine o’clock, Jane, Susan, Mary, Diane, Mira, Rae, Ingrid, Charles, Joyce, Willett, June, Barb, Mary, Judy, and Camilla got busy mixing colors for faux turquoise buttons. We grated clay, applied paint to the grated shreds, cut, twisted, and squished the clay. We worked hard all day. The piles of buttons grew and grew. There was lots of talking and laughing.
By the end of the day, we finished the turquoise buttons, made twisty mica-shift buttons, flower millefiori buttons, and mosaic buttons. I had to take them back to my room to finish baking. Find lots more photos from our button classes here.
One of the great things about teaching is that I learn from the people in my classes. They try things I’ve never thought of, like this new way to do millefiori flower buttons by Judy and Charles.
The fall Knit & Crochet Show in Greensboro was SO MUCH FUN! If you’ve never been to a knitting and crochet convention, you should go at least once to experience the amazing feeling of being around so many fellow yarn lovers. It will make your day, your week, your year!
Thursday morning at nine, we started our Polymer Clay Button Boutique class by making fake lapis buttons, courtesy of Sue Heaser’s recipe. Her book, The Polymer Clay Techniques Book, is the best. I recommend it.
By the end of the day, we were exhausted but happy. Everyone had piles of buttons, and we had a backlog next to the oven, waiting to be baked. Next time I’m bringing two toaster ovens.
Many, many of the buttons we made in class are on Flickr. I hope you’ll go and see them. They’re gorgeous!